Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Report 64

13 January 2013

By Gordon M. Hahn

Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies





* IIPER is written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn unless otherwise noted.  Research assistance is provided by Yelena Altman, Nicole Labun, Anna Nevo, Casey Mahoney, Daniel Painter, Elizabeth Wolcott, Jerry Davydov, Kevin Butts, Michelle Enriquez, Olga Volcsko, and Stephanie Barko.  IIPER accepts outside submissions.




In November Caucasus Emirate (CE) websites posted the final testament in audio form of ‘Seifullah’ Anzor Astemirov, who was the CE’s very first qadi and the amir of the CE’s United Vilaiyat of Kabardiya, Balkariya and Karachai (OVKBK), the CE’s network in Russia’s republics of Kabardino-Balkariya (KBR) and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya (KChR). Astemirov played a leading role in the October 2007 declaration of the CE and was killed by police in March 2010 as he was walking in the republic’s capitol of Nalchik apparently unprotected.

In the first part of his testament (www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/11/21/94468.shtml and http://www.islamdin.com/video/1437-2012-11-21-18-41-37.html), Astemirov claims in the audio that he made the statement because of the greater possibility he would be killed as he moved around Kabardino-Balkariya to conduct a series of urgent meetings. Those meetings were necessitated by the killing of his naib Abu Umar, who, according to Astemirov, had made great gains in organizing the network. Now Astemirov had to conduct a series of meetings in order to preserve those gains, he asserts. This sheds some light on the sharp rise in the number of attacks carried out by the OVKBK mujahedin after Astemirov’s elimination, confirming that Astemirov and his naibs laid the groundwork for that surge.

Noting the death of leading CE suicide bombing theo-ideologist and operative Sheikh Said Abu Saad Buryatskii (born Aleksandr Tikhomirov) a few days prior to the taping the audio, Astemirov praises the sheikh not just for his great contribution to jihad in the Caucasus but throughout the ummah.

Astemirov also criticizes those who regard earlier leaders of the CE’s predecessor organization, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeriya (1991-2007) of the first Chechen war (1994-96), the quasi-independent state of the inter-war period (1996-99), and the second ‘Chechen’ war (conventional phase in 1999-2001) which was actually the beginning of the Caucasus-wide jihad (1999-present). He argues that all the ChRI presidents – Dzhokar Dudaev, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Aslan Maskhadov, and Abdul Khalim Sadulaev – implemented the policy of creating an Islamist state within the limits of their Islamic knowledge and should not be criticized as ‘taghutists’ because they established elements of secular, man-made law (taghut) along with Shariah law.

Similarly, he criticizes those in some Salafi circles who regard Astemirov’s chief mentor, Sheikh Abu Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi as excessively takfirist.  IIPER readers will be aware that Maqdisi, the leading global jihadi philosopher, according to a study by US Military Academy’s Counter-Terrorism Center, struck up a correspondence relationship with Astemirov in 2007-08 and endorsed the CE as a key jihadist organization in September 2009.  In particular, Astemirov defends Maqdisi by noting that those who criticize him refer to Sheikh Abu Basyr al-Tartusi’s writings are mistaken since Tartusi’s and Maqdisi’s philosophies agree almost entirely.

In the second part of his final testament (www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/11/21/94468.shtml and http://www.islamdin.com/video/1439–2.html), Astemirov begins by giving an overview of the Salafist/Jihadist Shariah-law based theory of the state, law and jurisprudence, discussing the role of the amir and shura under Shariah rule and criteria for determining sovereignty of Shariah law or lack thereof on any particular territory. For example, he notes that some scholars argue that a training camp on sovereign infidel territory (dar al-harb) can actually be regarded as an abode or territory of Islamic rule (dar al-Islam) or nearly one. The CE is an “emirate of jihad in conditions of dar al-harb” – set of jamaats subordinated to a military amir on territory ruled by infidels.  He also discusses combat or military jamaats versus non-combat or non-military jamaats, the obligation of jihad under various situations, and women’s issues.

Astemirov devotes a large portion of time on the issue of selecting an amir.  He cites scholars to the effect that during war time, amirs should be selected on the basis of their influence and capabilities, presumably military, as opposed to the level of their religious knowledge.  This reflects the CE’s situation in that CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov has acknowledged his limited knowledge of Islam in the past.  On the other hand, Umarov seems to have considerable effort shoring up that knowledge in recent years using various CE qadis as sources of said knowledge, including the qadi of the CE’s Chechnya-based network, the Libyan Abu Walid al-Libi, captured in April 2012.  Umarov is visibly more comfortable citing Koranic verses in his salutations and even sometimes the body of his various video statements.

Citing Tartusi, Astemirov that amirs should first be those who already have experience in jihad.  The process is not important, including that of an election with lower-standing amirs and/or mujahedin all gathering to select an amir.  What is important is whether any amirs of jamaats or, in the case of selection of a single jamaat’s amir, some mujahedin have declared the loyalty oath to him.  Elections or consultations can be one way to select an amir, however.

According to Astemirov, although the amir’s power is absolute, he is to be obeyed only when his orders and decisions reflect Allah’s truth.  Thus, CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov’s authority is absolute for all Muslims on the territory indicated by Umarov’ as the CE’s territory.  Umarov is authorized and obliged to call upon all infidels on CE territory to accept Islam, and even though the CE does not possess full sovereignty and still is only an abode of jihad and partial Islamic sovereignty over the North Caucasus, if they refuse Islam then they are obliged to pay the jizya tax.  If the emirate is on territory once belonging to Islam but lost and then in the process of being returned to Islamic rule (i.e., the CE in the CE’s view), then the amir has the authority to use force to ensure infidel compliance with Shariah law and all Muslims are obligated to assist in achieving that goal, including through the use of “various bodily punishments.”

Astemirov seems to veer of topic to discuss a prospective situation in which one mujahed steals from another and whether the amir then is required to cut off the hand of the thief, according to Shariah law.  Demonstrating the supremacy of jihad and the goal of bringing Islam to power, he notes that many scholars argue that since this would bring harm to the jihad and since the mujahedin have limited sovereignty, the amir can replace the standard punishment with another.  Moreover, he notes that the amir should not concern himself with such as issues as enforcement of Shariah law and implementation of punishments such as stonings to any extent if it will hinder his ability to wage jihad.  In fact, if a mujahed commits a crime on the territory of jihad and then returns to a territory of Islamic rule, he will not be punished for the crime committed while on jihad.

Returning to the subject of authority and power under the Salafist version of Shariah law, Astemirov notes that the amir’s primary task is to defeat those who refuse to accept Islam.  Thus, if the consumption and/or production of alcohol is harmful to that cause, then he is obliged to use military means to stop that activity.  If the amir deems that such activity is not hindering the jihad, then he has the option not to punish that activity and use his resources for more important tasks that need to be fulfilled for the jihad’s victory.  On the more theme of authority in general, Astemirov concludes that CE amir Umarov posseses ‘imar a’ama’ (Arabic), that is general powers of a ruler and not merely ‘imar hasa’ (authority to carry out a specific task or manage matters in a particular sphere of activity, i.e., intelligence or mukhabarat).

Discussing the obligation of every Muslim to assist the jihad, according to Astemirov and his Salafist interpretation of Shariah law, it is emphasized that the amir has the authority to punish Muslims who refuse to assist the jihad.

Turning to the issue of the Islamic loyalty oath, the bayat, he notes his own opinion is that it should not be obligatory; only subordination and obeying the amir should be obligatory.  One reason is that Muslims might use the fact that they have not taken the bayat as a reason for not fulfilling an order from the amir.

In discussing these and other subjects, he cites numerous Islamic and jihadi-oriented scholars, including Maqdisi, Tartusi and others.

Part 2 ends abruptly with Astemirov in mid speech at the 1 hour and 57 minute mark, suggesting that the testament does not end with part 2 and more may be forthcoming on CE websites.




The Caucasus Emirate-affiliated website UmmaNews.com continues to issue monthly reports on the number of attacks carried out by the CE mujahedin and the casualties that have resulted from those attacks among both Russian state agents and on the side of the mujahedin as well in the North Caucasus.  The UmmaNews data are also re-posted on the CE’s official website Kavkaz tsentrThe UmmaNews/CE data for 2012 show approximately 571 CE attacks and related violent incidents in the North Caucasus (see Table 1).  I say ‘approximately’ because the data are presented according to the Muslim calendar beginning from


Table 1. Umma News/CE Data on Number of Attacks, Violent Incidents, and Casualties in the North Caucasus during 2012 (the figure in parentheses is that for 2011).

Vilaiyat of the  Caucasus Emirate  










Nokchicho Vilaiyat or NV (Chechnya)       52 (81)           

  104 (104)


179 (182)


  11 (26)

Galgaiche Vilaiyat or GV

(Ingushetia and No. Ossetiya)

      96 (101)  

    52 (36)


  82 (46)


     8 (15)

Dagestan Vilaiyat or DV


    359 (458)   303 (275)  

  478 (443)

 102 (100)


      61 (94)  

    33 (63)


    39 (58)


   44 (48)


Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat**


        3 (5)


      4 (6)


 0 (7)

     0 (0)


        0 (1)       0 (39)        0 (180)      0 (1)


    571 (741)  

  496 (522)


  778 (916)

 165 (190)

*OVKBK – the United Vilaiyat of Kabardiya, Balkariya and Karachai, the CE’s jihadi network the North Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkariya and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya.

** Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat covers the North Caucasus regions of Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai for the CE.


SOURCES: “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevikh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats safar 1433 goda po khidzhre (26 dekyabrya 2011 – 23 yanvarya 2012 g.,” Umma News, 27 January 2012, 19:42, http://ummanews.ru/news/kavkaz/5229———-1433—-26–2011–23–2012-.html; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevikh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats rabi-al’-avval’ 1433 goda po khidzhre (24 yanvarya – 23 fevralya 2012 g.,” Umma News, 24 February 2012, 15:52, http://ummanews.ru/news/kavkaz/5700–1433-24-23-2012-.html; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevikh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats rabi-as-sani 1433 goda po khidzhre (24 fevralya – 23 marta 2012 g.),” Umma News, 24 March 2012, 18:19, http://ummanews.ru/news/kavkaz/6160————1433—-24—23–2012-.html; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevikh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats dzhumada-l’-ulya 1433 goda po khidzhre (24 marta – 21 aprelya 2012 g.),” Umma News, 22 April 2012, 20:48, http://ummanews.com/news/last-news/6601————1433—-24—21–2012-.html; “Imarat Kavkaz. Svodka boevykh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats dzhumada-s-sani 1433 goda po khidzhre (22 aprelya -21 maya 2012 g.),” Umma news, 22 May 2012, 16:28 http://ummanews.com/news/last-news/7006————1433—-22—21–2012-.html; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevikh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats radzhab 1433 goda po khidzhre (22 maya – 20 iyunya 2012 g.),” VDagestan.com, 21 June 2012, http://vdagestan.com/imarat-kavkaz-svodka-boevyx-operacij-modzhaxedov-za-mesyac-radzhab-1433-goda-po-xidzhre-22-maya-20-iyunya-2012-g.htm; www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/07/22/92056.shtml; www.ummanews.com/news/kavkaz/8351———-1433—-20—18–2012-.html; www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/09/22/93226.shtml; http://vdagestan.com/?p=7566; www.ummanews.com/news/last-news/9276–1433-17-14-2012-.html; and www.ummanews.com/news/last-news/9472———-1434—-15—13–2012-.html.


26 December 2011 to late 14 December 2012.  This represents a sharp 23 percent decline from last year when, according to the Umma News/CE data there were 740 attacks in the North Caucasus (plus one at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport in January 2011), as reported in IIPER.

Putting aside the insignificant ‘Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat’ (NSV), the attacks of which were likely carried out by Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV) or the United Vilaiyat of Kabardiya, Balkariya and Karachai (OVKBK) operatives, the decline was most sharp in the CE’s Chechnya network, the Nokchicho Vilaiyat (NV), and the OVKBK the territory of operations of which covers the republics of Kabardino-Balkariya (KBR) and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya (KChR).  The NV and OVKBK saw declines of 36 and 35 percent, respectively.  Dagestan’s DV experienced a 21.6 percent drop off in the number of attacks, accounting for most of the decline (99 of the 170 fewer attacks).  Ingushetiya’s Galgaiche Vilaiyat (GV) saw the smallest decline – 4 percent.  It cannot be excluded, however, that some of the attacks occurring in Ingushetiya are carried out by the NV Chechens as moving to territory governed by the softer regime of Yunusbek Yevkurov compared with Ramzan Kadyrov’s in Chechnya.

The largest number of CE attacks continues to be carried out by the DV mujahedin.  This has been the case for nearly three years now, continuing since April 2010.  According to the jihadists’ data, the DV carried out 62.8 percent of CE’s attacks in the North Caucasus and Russia this year.  The DV was followed by the GV at 16.8 percent, the OVKBK at 10.7 percent, and lastly by the increasingly weak Chechens of the NV with a mere 9.2 percent.  As reported in a previous IIPER, during the first half of 2012, the DV’s operational dominance within the CE was at its highest level ever at 63.5 percent of the CE’s attacks, while the NV’s share of operations was at its lowest level ever at 7.7 percent.

Since the reports continue to divide fatalities and wounded into the categories of kafiry (infidels) and murtady or marionetki (apostates or puppets), we are unable to delineate between casualties among state agents and those among civilians from the jihadi sources, as we do for IIPER’s own estimate.  Therefore, the UmmaNews/CE data give us the total number of fatalities and wounded with no separation between civilians and non-civilians.  According to the data, CE ops became somewhat more effective throughout the year, perhaps reflecting better training and/or planning.  While the number of attacks may have declined by 23 percent from last year to this, the number of casualties inflicted by those operations declined by only 11.4 percent.  The number of killed declined by only 5 percent in 2012, from 522 in 2011 to 496 this year, and the number of wounded declined by only 15 percent, from 916 in 2011 to 778 in 2012, according to the Umma news/CE data.  In the first half of this year, the number of attacks declined by 32 percent, but the number of casualties inflicted fell by only 23.8 percent.  Last year CE operations yielded 1.94 casualties per operation, using the Umma News/CE data, this year the number is 2.23 casualties per operation.  The most effective operation/casualty ratios in 2012, according to the Umma news/CE data, were those of the NV in Chechnya with 5.44 casualties inflicted per attack, followed by the Dagestan’s DV at 2.18.  Ingushetiya’s GV followed with 1.40 casualties inflicted per operation, and the OVKBK was least efficient among the main vilaiyats, with just 1.18 casualties inflicted per operation.  In the first half of the year, the NV and DV were even more efficient, with 7.0 casualties per attack, followed by the Dagestan’s DV at 2.5.  The OVKBK stood at 1.2, and Ingshetiya’s GV at 0.8.  The great disparity between the effectiveness of NV and GV operations suggests that if NV mujahedin are crossing over into Ingushetiya to carry out attacks being credited to the GV, then they must be major operations and far and few between.

Another mark of efficiency would be the number of mujahedin lost as compared to the number of operations carried out.  The UmmaNews/CE data on mujahedin lost includes only those killed and does not include those captured or wounded, and the number of those killed is probably understated in several of the vilaiyats, especially Chechnya.  Nevertheless, it is worth examining this aspect of the data provided by the mujahedin.  Overall in 2012 the mujahedin suffered more casualties per operation than in 2011: 0.29 compared to 0.26.  In the respective main vilaiyats, the ratio of mujahedin killed to operations was lowest for the GV at 0.08, followed by the NV at 0.21, the DV at 0.28, and the OVKBK at 0.72.  In the first half of the year, this ratio was as follows for the maim vilaiyats: Ingushetiya’s GV – 0.15, Dagestan’s DV – 0.26, Chechnya’s NV – 0.35, and the OVKBK – 0.61.

Thus, according to the mujahedin’s own data, the Dagestan DV remains the dominant vilaiyat within the CE in terms of size and operational capacity, and in some ways it is also the most effective or at least second most effective.

It should be added that Tatarsstan saw a wave of jihadi attacks for which claims of responsibility were made by mujahedin who declared their loyalty to the CE in video statements (see IIPER, No. 60).  Those attacks were not included in the Umma News/CE data.  The 5 attacks in Tatarstan yielded 2 state agents killed and 3 wounded and one civilian killed and one wounded.  Among the killed were Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Spiritual Administration of Tatarstan (DUMT) Valiulla Yakupov, and among those wounded was DUMT Chairman Ilduz khazrat Faizov.  Both suffered in separate attacks on July 19.  In a special operation and several accidental detonations 6 mujahedin were killed in Tatarstan during 2012.

IIPER will be coming out with its data on jihadi attacks in Russia during 2012 in one of the next few issues.



Central Asia continues to be a springboard for Islamists and jihadists to spread their ideologies and operations into Russia, especially its Volga and Urals regions. Most recently a cell of Islamic extremists was uncovered in Russia’s region of Nizhnii Novgorod (Nizhegorod). IIPER readers will recall recent cases of Central Asians, including Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami, cells moving from Central Asia to proselytize and plan attacks in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

In the most recent Nizhegorod case, the MVD captured a group of Islamic extremists from Central Asia, who were in possession of explosives and ammunition. According to the Russian General Directorate for Countering Extremism, the MVD found IEDs, detonators, ammunition, and gunpowder, as well banned literature, in both the Arabic and Russian language, in the extremists’ residences. The MVD believes the suspects are cell members of a banned organization in Central Asia. They are accused of spreading a radical ideology and encouraging citizens to partake in unconstitutional activities in order to work toward the jihadist goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate.[1]

IIPER readers will also recall that numerous Central Asian jihadi groups based in the FATA area of Pakistan continue to maintain contacts and cooperation with Russia’s Caucasus Emirate jihadists based in the North Caucasus.



Nine members of the banned Islamist organization, Islamic Revival Party or IRPT, have been arrested and detained in Russia. The suspects are dual-citizens of Tajikistan and Russia.[2] Five of the nine arrested are leaders in the Moscow branch of the Tajik organization. After searching the Islamists’ property, Russian officials located banned literature and a stockpile of explosives and ammunition.[3]

Earlier this November 18 members of organization were arrested for illegally recruiting volunteers from mosques and for possession of weapons.[4]


Central Asia’s Status on Global Terrorism Index

In December 2012, the nonprofit organization, the Institute for Economics and Peace released the first Global Terrorism Index (GTI).[5]  The GTI considered the impact of terrorism in 158 countries over a 10-year period with data from the Global Terrorism Database and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response (START). Each country was scored from 0.0-10.0, 10 being a country highly impacted by terrorism.[6]  Factors considered in the rankings include: number of terrorist attacks, fatalities, and the economic and physical damage caused by attacks.[7]

As for the Central Asian countries, all five appeared on the GTI; however, in various positions. Kazakhstan placed 47th, the highest of the Central Asian states with a score of 2.8.  Tajikistan followed in 59th place with a score of 2.0. Uzbekistan, which received a score of 0.6, took 87th place.  Kyrgyzstan placed 92nd with the second lowest score of 0.4. Turkmenistan was the only Central Asian state to join 40 other countries, which received a score of 0.0 or “no impact of terrorism.”[8]


Counter Terrorism Efforts Abound in Central Asia

As fear of increasing terrorism and insurgency rises, Central Asia is increasing efforts to curb extremist tendencies in society. Either through counter terrorism operations, education of its citizens, or simply increased security, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan are working to both prevent and address matters of Islamism in society.

  • Kazakhstan

Efforts in Kazakhstan to shut down religious organizations not properly registered with the state have been effective. The list of permitted religious groups was shortened from 46 to 17.[9] This comes after a year long effort to follow the controversial religion law set in place after the first ever terrorist attack in the country. All religious organizations were given a year to reregister under new stringent laws.[10]

  • Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is engaged in preventative measures to counter extremism. Moderate spiritual leaders and local law enforcement units are uniting to educate students from every Oblast about the threats of extremism in Uzbekistan.[11]

Law enforcement units are also conducting raids on cell phone companies to prevent extremists from getting hold of cell phone data and transmitting religious material.[12]

Additionally, the metro system is receiving an upgrade. Closed-circuit TVs (CCTV) and random searches are among precautions being taken. The CCTV system allows designated personnel to monitor station tunnels. Toxic and flammable material is no longer permitted on the metro. Neither are firearms.[13]

  • Kyrgyzstan

Recruiting the youth into extremist organizations such as Hizb ut-Tahrir is just one tactic that extremists are using to seek volunteers. According to the Interior Ministry, “In the first 10 months of this year, 176 members of extremist religious organizations were arrested in Kyrgyzstan and 204 cases of crimes involving extremism were registered – 132 in which criminal charges were brought.”[14] In light of this trend, Kyrgyz authorities are considering increasing their religious education so that minors would grow up knowing the differences between extremism and moderate sects of Islam.

The Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Kyrgyzstan (DUMK), the largest association in the country to monitor all activities of religious organizations in the country, is reforming its strategies. The entire institution is reorganizing in order to be able to able to fight extremism in the country.[15]

Because extremism in Central Asia is on the rise, both local and federal governments are increasing their efforts to counter these threats. Those engaged in these efforts are working on both preventative and responsive ways to deal with evolving and innovative threats of terrorism and religious extremism. Although there is criticism that these efforts limit religious freedom, there is simultaneous pressure to increase counter terrorism training.




Kyrgyz Deputy imprisoned in Tajikistan for Smuggling

Ikrom Siddikov was indicted on charges of attempting to smuggle 90 kilograms of mercury across the Tajik-Kyrgyz border. He received a 10-year imprisonment sentence. Two other provocateurs were also convicted on such charges: Chingiz Abdurahmonov for nine years and Yokubjuju Homidov for eight.[16] The mercury is a radioactive substance that can be used in manufacturing a crude nuclear device.

Kyrgyz Officials Acquitted from all Charges

A group of local military officials was acquitted last week. Originally, the group was charged with importing radioactive coal into Kyrgyzstan but later, the group was found innocent.[17]

Forgery Facility Busted in Kyrgyzstan

An underground facility in Osh specializing in providing forged documents to extremist and terrorist was busted 14 November by State authorities. The owner, a Kyrgyz, has had previous run-ins with the law. He has been arrested and his “printing equipment and almost 100 forged documents, including passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, university diplomas, and driving licenses from the suspect’s premises” were confiscated.[18]



Local Kazakhstani Officials Prosecuted for Stealing Oil Companies’ Funds

Local officials in Kazakhstan involved in the oil worker strikes and police clashes have been gradually arrested and imprisoned. Clashes in oil producing Zhanaozen and Aqtau, Kazakhstan, began in early May. Local police were forced to shoot protesters when the riots exploded into violence. Riots began as oil workers went on strike to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Soon after, clashes between local police and the workers began. The police shot more than 16 people and wounded hundreds. Thus, in September, Oraq Sarbopeev, Zhanaozen’s mayor, was sentenced to 10 years in imprison for violating terms of office. Sarbopeev’s predecessor, Zhalghas Babakhanov, was also convicted. He was charged with embezzling the oil company funds.[19]

Similarly, Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the Alga party, was arrested last year for inciting a violent overthrow of the government and causing unrest in Zhanaozen, connected to the clashes between the police and oil workers. He will spend seven and a half years in prison.[20]

Kazakhstani Border Guard’s Hearing on Murder Charges Begins

19-year-old Kazakh Vladislav Chelakh, a border guard indicted on murder charges, is being tried in Kazakhstan. Initially, he admitted guilt for killing the other guards, but then recanted his statement. He has been held in prison, awaiting trial, since the incident last May. There, he attempted suicide with a pair of sweatpants, but was rescued. Although preliminary hearings have begun, Chelakh’s lawyer is pushing for more investigations.[21]

Kazakhstani Suspect in National Park Slaying Released

Park ranger Aleksei Shkilev was first arrested in September as a suspect in the Ile-Alatau National Park slayings.[22] In September 12 people were brutally murdered; subsequently, Islamists Zaurbek Botabayev, from the Zhambyl region, and Sayan Khairov, from Western Kazakhstan, were identified as perpetrators and imprisoned. Shkilev was also then arrested as his house was burned down with six people inside, but all charges against him have been dropped. The search for radicals involved in the heinous crimes continues.



Hizb ut-Tahrir Members Face Trial in Tajikistan

Seven members of Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, are facing trial in Khujand, Tajikistan for inciting violence and plotting overthrow of the government in an attempt to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Of the seven, three are women and one is a minor.[23] All have been training in Palestine and have connections to other banned Islamist organizations in Central Asia.

Tajikistani Border Guards Arrested

Five border guards in Tajikistan have been arrested for attempting to smuggle illicit drugs across the Tajik-Afghan border, procuring arms illegally, and exploiting their positions as guards. The charges and prison terms for the arrested varies.[24]

  • Nizomiddin Yakubov was sentenced to 21 years in prison after being found guilty for illegally crossing the border, illegally possessing firearms, and drug trafficking.


  • Anvardzhon Khakimov was found guilty of forgery, illegal border crossing, and abusing his role as Major.


  • Alisher Sufis was convicted for failing to report the crimes committed by his colleagues and will serve a five-year term in prison.


  • Zuhursho Mirzoev was charged with illegally purchasing weapons. He will be imprisoned for three years.


  • Djumabekov Nurali was found guilty of drug trafficking. He will serve a 12-year prison term.

Tajikistan Terrorist Suspect Imprisoned

Azamat Elmirzoyev, a 24-year-old fighter, was arrested last May on the Afghan-Tajik border. He had been training in Pakistan to join the combat unit of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.[25]



IMU Members Arrested in Uzbekistan

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a banned Islamist organization, operating out of Uzbekistan, has suffered the arrest of several of its leaders. On 6 November, an arms supplier for the group was arrested. On 11 November, an explosives specialist was arrested and on 27 November, a high-ranking arms trader for the organization was detained. These arrests come on the heels of earlier setbacks, such as the arrest of IMU leader Qari Yakhya in September, death of Makhdum Nusrat in spring, and detainment of Qari Hamza, in July.[26]

Tajik Spies Arrested in Uzbekistan

Three women were arrested for espionage against Uzbekistan. Living in a town on the Tajik-Uzbek border allowed the women to pass on information regarding the state. One of the women even married a local police officer. Two of the women were Uzbek nationals; the third was born in Tajikistan but holds no citizenship.[27]

On an Uzbek TV program meant to demonize neighboring Tajikistan, the women were exposed as traitors. The show, called “Betrayers of the Motherland,” was also meant to warn Uzbeks to watch their interactions.[28] Each received a prison term between 14 and 15 years.


[1] Umma News, 30 November 2012, www.ummanews.com/news/newsline/9369-2012-11-30-07-45-23.html.

[2] “Russia Charges Nine Suspected Members Of Terror Group,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 16 November 2012, http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-hizb-ut-tahrir/24772756.html.

[3] “Moscow detains six alleged IRPT members,” Universal Newswire, 13 November 2012, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/tajikistan/viewstory.aspx?id=13152.

[4] “Terrorists charged: Attack on Moscow railroad foiled,” Russia Today, 16 November 2012, http://rt.com/politics/terrorist-attack-train-charges-836/.

[5] “First Global Terrorism Index Launched,” Radio Free Liberty, 04 December 2012, http://www.rferl.org/content/global-terror-index-launched/24789151.html.

[6] :About the GTI,” Vision of Humanity, 04 December 2012, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/terrorismindex/about-the-gti/.

[7] “Central Asia ranks midway in global terror index,” Universal Newswires, 05 December 2012, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/kyrgyzstan/security/viewstory.aspx?id=13273.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “List Of Kazakh Religious Groups Curbed,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 16 November 2012,  http://www.rferl.org/content/list-of-religious-groups-in-kazakhstan-curbed/24750920.html.

[10] Joanna Lillis, “Kazakhstan: Religion Law Restricting Faith in the Name of Tackling Extremism?” Eurasia Net, 12 November 2012, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/66167.

[11] Maksim Yeniseyev, “Uzbekistan teaches students about religious extremism,” Central Asia Online, 01 November 2012, http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/main/2012/11/01/feature-02.

[12]  Ibid.

[13] Maksim Yeniseyev, “Tashkent metro tightens security,” Central Asia Online, 29 November 2012, http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/main/2012/11/29/feature-01.

[14] Erkin Kamalov, “S. Kyrgyzstan fears influence of Hizb ut-Tahrir,” 30 November 2012, http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/main/2012/11/30/feature-01.

[15] Asker Sultanov, “Kyrgyz mufti’s office reformed to better fight extremism,” 08 November 2012, Central Asia Online, http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/main/2012/11/08/feature-01.

[16] “Kyrgyz deputy sentenced to 10 years in Tajik prison,” Universal Newswire, 05 November 2012, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/tajikistan/viewstory.aspx?id=13108.

[17] “Court acquits Kyrgyz officials accused of importing radioactive coal,” ITAR-TASS, 04 November 2012, http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/571638.html.

[18] “Kyrgyz Fake Documents Facility Busted,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 14 November 2012, http://www.rferl.org/content/kyrgyz-fake-documents-facility-busted/24770504.html

[19] Ex-Deputy Governor Of Restive Kazakh Region Gets 12 Years In Jail,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12 November 2012, http://www.rferl.org/content/former-kazakh-deputy-governor-gets-12-years-in-jail/24768805.html

[20] “Kazakh opposition leader’s conviction upheld,” Al Jazeera, 20 November 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/11/2012112014241866641.html.

[21] “Kazakh Hearings Begin Into Border-Guard Killings,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12 November 2012, http://www.rferl.org/content/kazakh-hearings-start-high-profile-mass/24768448.html

[22] “Suspect In High-Profile Kazakh Murder Released, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1 November 2012, http://www.rferl.org/content/kazakhstan-murder-suspect-freed/24757730.html.

[23]“7 alleged HT members on trial in Khujand,” Universal Newswire, 15 November 2012, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/viewstory.aspx?id=13173.

[24] “Five Tajik border guards sentenced for drug trafficking,” Universal Newswire, 13 November 2012, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/viewstory.aspx?id=13156.

[25] “Terrorist movement militant sentenced to 12 years in Tajik prison, ITAR-TASS, 21 November 2012, http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/577680.html.

[26] Shakar Saadi, “IMU suffers casualties, loses Taliban trust,” Central Asia Online, 29 November 2012, http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/main/2012/11/29/feature-02.

[27] “Uzbekistan jails three women for espionage,” Universal Newswire, 05 November 2012, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/tajikistan/viewstory.aspx?id=13105.



Gordon M. Hahn, “The Caucasus Emirate Jihadists: The Security and Strategic Implications,” in Stephen J. Blank, ed., Russia’s Homegrown Insurgency: Jihad in the North Caucasus (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, October 2012), pp. 1-98, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1116.pdf.



               Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report (IIPER) is a project of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  It focuses on all politically-relevant issues involving or bearing on Islam, Islamism, and Jihadism in Russia and Eurasia writ large.  All issues of IIPER will soon be permanently archived at http://csis.org/program/russia-and-eurasia-program.  All back issues temporarily remain archived at: http://www.miis.edu/academics/faculty/ghahn/report.

               IIPER is compiled, edited and, unless indicated otherwise, written by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn.  Dr. Hahn is a Senior Associate (Non-Resident) in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor at the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP), Monterey, California.  He is also a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group and an Analyst and Consultant for Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch, http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com.  He teaches courses on both politics and terrorism in Russia and Eurasia at MonTREP.  Dr. Hahn is the author of two well-received books, Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007) and Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002) as well as numerous articles on Russian, Eurasian and international politics. 

IIPER welcomes submissions on any aspect of Islamic, Islamist, or Jihadist politics in Eurasia as well as financial contributions to support the project.  For related inquiries or to request to be included on IIPER’s mailing list, please contact:

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

Tel: (831) 647-3535 Fax: (831) 647-6522

Email: ghahn@miis.edu or gordon-hahn@sbcglobal.net

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